Category Archives: Facts About Bipolar Kids

Family-Focused Therapy Saves Family Relationships


Having a kid with bipolar disorder is very stressful and affects not only us parents, but our family and friends as well.   It is quite tough to control the disabling effects of this disorder.  Additionally, having your bipolar child take his medications is one of the most challenging aspects of being a parent of bipolar kids.


Dr. Kimberly Delaney, Psyd, Pmhnp said “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”


Bipolar patients, especially kids and teens, have a high likelihood of medication nonadherence.  In fact, a study shows that only 30% of this group of patients take their medications on a regularly scheduled basis.  Relapse occurs after abrupt discontinuation of drugs.

Reasons for discontinuation of taking their medications include medication side effects, social stigma, and belief that they are already cured and will not have another episode.

Medications Are Not Enough

According to some therapists and as studies show, medicines are not enough in addressing the symptoms of bipolar disorder.  But there are some pieces of evidence which reveal that non-medicine therapeutic interventions could enhance a patient’s outcome.   Some parents try to make the most of these interventions in order to help their children and to keep the family together as they deal with the illness.

“Mindfulness meditation practices are effective interventions, and sometimes for mild to moderate conditions—depression and anxiety—super-effective as front lines,” said Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC.


Family-Focused Therapy

There are many therapeutic interventions in treating a bipolar disorder such as

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
  • Family intervention
  • Cognitive remediation and function remediation
  • Mindfulness-based interventions

One that is proven successful for bipolar patients is family-focused therapy or FFT.  This therapy helps them to be more stable and lessen the possibility of relapse.


How It Works

In this kind of therapy, the therapist educates each family member about bipolar disorder and all related problems linked to it, like family members and caregivers getting burned out when dealing with the family member with bipolar disorder.

This method hopes to

  1. Build better communication skills that will help families minimize the stress this illness causes them, so they can work together in solving the issues related to family relationships, not on the bipolar alone.
  2. Teach them to identify the symptoms and recognize signs of any awaiting episodes and relapses.
  3. Allow them to engage more efficiently in resolving conflicts with minimal undesirable feelings.
  4. Teach them how to use problem-solving skills and management approaches mainly designed to assist members with bipolar disorder.
  5. Introduce to the families some constructive steps they can take when the patient is having difficulties with the disease.

Success Of Family Therapy In Keeping Family Together

A study from randomized controlled trials have shown that FFT is useful in helping the patients avoid relapses.    This method of therapy helps the patient and even the family members recover from bipolar episodes much faster than without the intervention, making it far more effective than other types of psychotherapy.


I can say that this family-focused therapy saved our family relationships from falling apart.   Taking extra care of kids with bipolar disorder, addressing their particular needs, and why we are giving them more attention is hard to explain to their siblings who don’t have the disease.  There are many family stressors caused by having a bipolar child. Even attending parties and gatherings have to be considered.  I don’t want to deprive my other kids the chance to socialize and be with their friends.  FFT allowed us to come up with a solution to this situation.  It had taught us techniques on how all our kids can enjoy the party and what to do when we sense that our kids with bipolar illness are about to have an episode.

I know that as my kids with bipolar mature, the problems that come with it will also add up.  The mood swings might get worse especially as they reach puberty, their attitude might change, and they may be influenced by their peers. Sadness and other symptoms might also get worse as I know that there are limitations to all these therapies and medications that they are receiving.   But with continuous treatment, I’m hopeful that we can survive the challenges brought by bipolar disorder – as a family.

“Bipolar I includes very clear manic episodes that are hard to miss, whereas bipolar II doesn’t necessarily have that,” says Sally Winston, PsyD.

Your Child’s Bipolar Illness Can Put Your Marriage On The Rocks

Bipolar disorder can be seen in any child of any age.  And very much like that of an adult, they have mood swings, from mania to depression, and they can be violent as well.


“It is not realistic for a couple to agree on everything, and if I met a couple who said they did, I wouldn’t believe them,” said Dr. Jesse D. Matthews, PsyD.

Our Son Is Our Treasure We Almost Lost To Bipolar Illness

My husband and I waited for years before our first child was born.  The happiness that we felt the very moment we found out that I was pregnant was beyond words.  We did everything to make ours and the baby’s journey through my pregnancy smooth sailing, something that we handled with excitement and care for the baby. We already felt how much we loved him even though he was still inside me.

When he came into the world, we were very thankful that he was healthy and he seemed like a happy baby.  Like other excited parents, we documented every progress of his growth, his every first – first baby talk, first steps, first run, and the first day of school.  We tried to give him everything that sometimes we were warned by friends and relatives that he might grow up to be a spoiled kid.

While in grade school, his teachers noticed some mood swings, and then he started exhibiting violent behaviors toward his classmates and with one of his teachers.  He can be very unruly when he’s home, but I never thought he would be unmanageable even in school.  The school summoned us multiple times, and we were requested to undergo some counseling with him, and so we did but to no avail, I guess.

According to Sheila Kamen, PsyD, “What counts in making a happy marriage is not how compatible two people are, but how they deal with the incompatibilities in their marriage.”


My husband is the disciplinarian type, and he and my kid started to have fights about his attitude, especially the way he disrespects us and others.  Of course, I would come to my son’s rescue.  I tried to tell my husband not to be too hard on our son as this could just be a phase, or just the result of us showering him with so much attention and material things and too much pampering.

Things got worse in school and in our house.  There were days when my son would not come out of his room and days when he would flee and wander the streets at night when he was unable to sleep.  These things made my husband mad for real that often we end up having an argument.   I can feel that slowly he is becoming distant not just from our child but me as well.

How Counseling Helped Us Save The Marriage And Our Son

The everyday fighting, arguments, me siding my son, his always coming home late and becoming less and less caring had added to my burden.  I felt like I was all alone looking after my son and supporting him.   I felt deserted by my husband.

I sought counsel, and during the session, I mentioned how my son’s behavior would be the cause of our disagreements.  Our relationship started to turn sour since my son became uncontrollable.   My counselor advised that I have my son checked as she sensed that there’s something wrong with him, and so I followed her advice.  She recommended a doctor, and we visited him.  After a few visits, the doctor confirmed that my son has bipolar disorder.  His tantrums, insomnias, eloping behaviors, especially his violent acts are not just about puberty or being a spoiled kid after all.

I explained this to my husband, and I can see clearly from the way he looked that he felt like a loser for having a son with such disorder.  I encouraged him that maybe it would be better if we both undergo counseling and also bring our son to a therapist who specializes in children with bipolar disorder.   It’s hard convincing him, but after some time, he agreed to come with me.  The therapist explained to us our family’s complicated situation – how it can ruin our relationship as husband and wife if we will focus on its adverse effect in our lives, how it can destroy their relationship as father and son, and what will eventually happen if my husband continues to give our son the cold shoulder and just imposing punishments without hearing him out.


Slowly, with the help of our counselors and our son’s therapist, my husband learned to embrace our situation.   He has participated in the interventions my son needed to reduce or even avoid his mania and depressions.   He now knows how to handle the circumstances correctly, and the best part is that we are now in this together.  Though there are still times when he runs out of patience, he can readily shift back when I remind and calm him down.

Managing a kid with bipolar disorder can put any marriage on the rocks, especially if the kid is not yet diagnosed, and the parents are just focusing on his misconducts.

Rowdy behaviors are part of the childhood and teenage years.  It’s natural for them to feel irritable, angry, hyperactive, rebellious sometimes.  However, if these behaviors have gone severe, becoming out of control, and causing problems especially between your relationship as couples, it may mean more than just undergoing a phase in life.

Lauren Dalton-Stern, LPCC said “Having a strong and fulfilling relationship is absolutely possible when both partners are committed to working as a team and creating a supportive, encouraging and accepting environment.”

Top 3 Ways To Bond With Your Family

Finding out that your child has bipolar disorder can be challenging on your part. For sure, you have no idea how to handle the signs and symptoms of this disorder. At the same time, you are also not prepared to explain to other people the condition of your kid. You will find it difficult to make others understand why your child acts differently or why he has specific quirks. Aside from this, you will also start to doubt your capacity as a parent.


“Family members need to verbally compliment one another,” said Brent Blaisdell, PsyD.




During these moments, it can be easy to give up right away and just let yourself drown in misery. At this point in your article, we want to remind you that it is not yet the end of the world. Just because your child or kid has been diagnosed with a medical condition does not mean that there is no longer hope for both of you. Take note that you can still make things right for everyone. One of the tips that you may want to consider is to spend more quality time with your family. Keep in mind that the more you bond with your family, the stronger you become in facing all challenges.


Below is a list of the effective ways on how you can bond with your family:


Have Brunch On Weekends


Teach your child how to enjoy brunch on weekends. Use this opportunity to bond with your kid and to talk about updates from his life. Let him know that you are interested in learning about how his week went and if he has any concerns at schools. Brunch is also the perfect time to teach your kid some perfect manners. Feel free to invite some relatives to come with you on brunch so that the gathering will be more fun.




Travel Abroad


Another exciting way for the family to bond is through traveling abroad. All you have to do is to select the country that you want to visit. Once you have finalized this important detail, it is time to look for the perfect city of that country. What are the kinds of activities that you are looking forward to? Is everyone in the family coming? How many days do you have for vacation? You must answer these questions to help you with the planning process.


Fact: “Marriage and family therapists look at behavior in its social and relational context.” – Benjamin Caldwell, PsyD 


Go On A Road Trip


If you have a limited time for vacation, do not fret because you can always go on a road trip for the weekend. The nice thing about this idea is that you can always go back to your place overnight. At the same time, it is also an affordable way of spending quality time with your beloved family members. That road trip is going to help you get close to your child. If you are not sure how to do this, do not hesitate to ask for some ideas from friends. They are most likely going to share their experiences!




Always find time to share with everyone in your family if you want your kid to become responsible just like you.


Take note, if there is something wrong with the family, you can always talk about it. According to Katrina Taylor, LMFT, “Acknowledging our pain means acknowledging our vulnerability and humanity.”



Parenting 101: How To Handle Your Kid’s Attitude

One of the common challenges that parents encounter is finding out that their children have a problematic attitude to deal with. Whether you like it or not, there is a possibility that your kid will become a monster. You will start to wonder where he got his attitude or why he started acting out. Going through this process can be disheartening and stressful, especially if you are a single parent. Do not worry because we are going to provide you with different things to know if you want to handle your kid’s attitude.




Before anything else, we want to emphasize that it is imperative on your part to act now if you want your child to become a better person. Do not wait before it becomes too late for you to work on the matter. Stop denying to yourself that nothing is wrong if your kid manifests a bad behavior. Instead, focus on finding ways on how you can help him change his ways.


“Expressing gratitude for your family members is one of the best ways to build relationships.” – Brent Blaisdell, PsyD


Here are the things that you need to know:


Be Disciplined


As much as possible, find time to develop a disciplinarian attitude. Just because your child is acting up does not mean that you have to answer to his needs immediately. Instead, allow him to have tantrums until he gets tired. However, do not do something that you will end up regretting. Remind yourself that you can still show your authority to your child without being violent. Learn how to be a good disciplinarian.




“Escaping to a cyber world lets children “do something” at all times, even when they’re away from situations or places that might make them feel pressured or anxious.” – Jennifer Walton, MA, LPC, LCPC


Use Positive Reinforcement


Teach your child how to act nice and great at all times by using positive reinforcement. All you must do is to take note of the good deeds that he does. For example, whenever he completes a task or assignment, be sure to find time to appreciate it. If possible, give him a reward or a gift. The more you do this, the more he will become more accustomed to performing helpful deeds. Do not forget to explain to him why he deserves the gift that he will receive.


Communicate Well


Do not be afraid to make an effort to communicate efficiently with your child. Stop relying on other people to give you updates about what keep your kid busy. Instead, be the one to talk to your child directly. Never make the mistake of spending most of your time in the office or your business. Remind yourself that no value or amount of money can ever bring back lost time with your child. If you think something is wrong with your offspring, do not hesitate to discuss it with him. Find a way to get him to open up to you.




If there is one thing that you need to know, it is the fact that you are a fantastic parent. You can do everything that you set your mind to. Make sure that you continue to provide love to your child at all times. Be the best version of your parenting life!


“Protecting children from sadness, anxiety and stress is a natural instinct for many adults.” – Bonnie Zucker, PsyD


Tips In Getting Your Child To Open Up

One of the things that parents find difficult to handle is allowing children to open up to them. Whether you like it or not, the truth is that your kid would have second thoughts in talking to you. He thinks that the moment he shares something to you, there is a possibility that you will react negatively or criticize him right away. Because of this, he would rather go to his friends than talk to you.


According to Bonnie Zucker, PsyD, “I do think that while we just want to be as authentic as possible in our parenting, there are times when you have to limit what you say and mostly when it comes to conversations about death, I think for a young child you have to be very clear and planned about what you want to say.”




If you want to change this kind of situation, then be sure to read this write up from start to finish. Before anything else, it is essential to pinpoint the fact that making your kids open up to you must be your top priority. Whenever he gets excited or encounters a problem, you must be the first person that will come to his mind. The reason behind this is so that you can get to understand what is going on his mind. At the same time, it will allow you to think of the different ways on how to help him the right way.


Below are the tips and tricks to remember if you want to make your child become interested in talking and discussing things with you:


Show Your Affection


Make your child feel that you love him more than anything else in the world. Nothing can make him smile more than you. Remind him how much you care for his love and affection. Once you do this, it will be a lot easier for him to trust you. He will feel more comfortable because he knows that you will continue to love him no matter what happens.




Jennifer Walton, MA, LPC, LCPC said “For teenagers, you’ll see their anxiety expressed more outwardly. It’s normal for them to want their own space and start developing relationships with others.”


Spend Quality Time Together


You need to see to it that your child will spend more quality time with you. It is crucial to give him more opportunities to bond with you. Remember that spending more valuable time with your kid can make things a lot better for you. Your relationship together will improve as the days go by. One of its positive effects is that he will find it easy to communicate with you whenever he wants to.


Avoid Giving Judgments


As much as possible, never say anything bad to your child. Put in mind that the more you utter hurtful words to your child, the more distant he will become. As a result, he will start to look for comfort and solace from other people. He will start to open up to other persons, and this can be a dangerous situation for everyone. He may end up getting the wrong advice or influence. If you do not want this to happen, make sure that you think twice before you speak. Let him know that you are ready to accept him and that you must never judge him in any way.




Here is something for the kids: “If your parents have hurt you in the past, it’s important to take an honest look at how that’s affected you.” – Katrina Taylor, LMFT,


Make sure to familiarize the tips and tricks mentioned in this article so that you can avoid compromising situations in the future.


Why You Should Discipline Your Child

Being a parent can be a tough job, especially if you have no idea how to get started. First of all, it is crucial on your part to understand that you play a significant role in the upbringing of your child. Whether you like it or not, your child’s personality and attitude will depend on his upbringing. Because of this, there is a necessity for you to focus on how to discipline your child. Keep in mind that most problematic adults are those with an unhappy and stressful childhood.




“By looking backward, one can better understand their present and make positive changes for the future,” said Emily Griffiths, LPC.


For today’s article, we want to remind every parent to give attention to how to raise your child. As much as possible, discipline him every step of the way so that he can learn discernment at a young age. Remind yourself that you have the duty to let your beloved child know whether he is doing the right thing or not. Below is the list of the reasons why disciplining your child is highly suggested:


To Teach Him Good Deeds


Do you want your kid or child to be respectful and admirable? Are you interested in making him a well-loved individual in the community? If you answered yes to these questions, then be sure to prioritize disciplining him starting now. Teach your child how to do good deeds through your method of discipline. Let him know which are those that he must do regularly and those he must avoid at all cost.




According to Katrina Taylor, LMFT, “There’s a difference between blaming and accountability.”


To Make Him Healthy


Keep in mind that discipline is not just about cultivating a pleasant attitude for your beloved child. At the same time, it also involves teaching him how to take good care of his body. Remind him that he has to start living healthy while he is still young. Otherwise, he may encounter severe medical conditions that can prevent him from enjoying life to the fullest. For example, control his food intake so that he will not end up obese.


To Train Him To Make Better Choices


Another reason why you must discipline your child is to enable him to make better decisions and choices for himself. The more you show your strict side to your child, the more he will start to respect your authority. In the long run, he will also start to mirror your attitude when it comes to deciding what to do with his life. It can be challenging and tough in the beginning, but you will soon get used to it.




“Expressing appreciation is a great way to strengthen family relationships.” – Brent Blaisdell, PsyD


Remember that there is no easy way to discipline your child. Stop feeling guilty for acting tough at times. Take note that you are only doing what is right for him. However, do not forget that it is best if you will explain to your child some of your actions and words. Make him understand why you have to discipline him. Aside from this, be sure to be around whenever he needs to talk to you or confide to someone. Keep in mind that parenting is fun and exciting as long as you know what to do.


Psychologist’s Advice In Better Handling A Child With Bipolar Disorder

“A familial support system can be between immediate family members, or a mix between extended and immediate family members.” – Brent Blaisdell, PsyD

Yes, it is hard for the people around to handle someone with bipolar disorder. Sometimes, there are lots of complaints, and that is normal. There are instances that both people around and the individual with mental illness can go along without any hassle. But what if the person is a child? How can an individual measure the amount of patience, determination, and empathy he needs to invest in taking care of a child with a bipolar condition? If in any case there are tons of individuals and parents who want an answer, they might as well pay attention to a psychologist’s recommendation and advice.


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Bipolar Disorder Misconceptions (Therapy Discussion)


Bipolar disorder is a condition that hinders proper function due to the constant elevated moods. But it is not all there is. Since it is a common disorder, people often get misconceptions. Here are some of the things they somehow misunderstood.

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Journaling As A Companion Treatment For Bipolar Disorder

Writing down one’s thoughts and emotions are proven effective to unburden one’s self, especially if bombarded with stressful situations. Decluttering the brain paves the way for focus and attention, efficient decision making and clarity of the mind. This method of alleviating stress can be instructed to children with the bipolar condition. You can start to encourage them in writing their feelings and experiences within the day to help manage and monitor their situation.

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